A survey in Kenya of 2,141 married mothers attending clinics for baby immunisations has identified a range of factors associated with male attendance at clinics during the antenatal period. 35% of the women reported their partners had attended antenatal clinics.
Factors associated with higher male attendance found in the study were:
- The woman being younger
- The husband being younger
- The couple having fewer older children
- More recent start of the marital relationship
- The woman being more educated
- The husband being more educated
- Absence of partner violence
- HIV status disclosed to the husband
- Lower poverty (women not reporting a household with a shared toilet)
- Woman requests husband to come (and women with HIV were more likely to ask their husbands to come)
- Attending the antenatal clinic four or more times
- Birth at a health facility
- BCG immunisation
- Exclusive breastfeeding
- Antiretroviral drug use (among HIV-infected women)
Examining this set of correlations, the researchers make the following recommendations:
- Inform/educate men
- Encourage and equip women to invite their male partners to attend
The researchers make the point that participation of husbands is not possible for some women – in this sample, 41% of women reported abuse in their marital relationship. Tailored interventions are needed for such women. Couples should be linked to domestic violence programmes, counselling and support groups.
In Kenya there are already campaigns to encourage male partnership engagement, mostly run by NGOs, such as the “Tunza” family health network of Population Services International, the “Egemesha Wanawake Program” of ICAP at Columbia University, and the Family AIDS Care and Education Services. This may account for the high rate of male attendance (35%) compared to other studies, though there may also be selection bias, as the study only engaged mothers who were attending postnatal clinics.
Odeny B, McGrath CJ, Langat A, Pintye J, Singa B, Kinuthia J, Katana A, Ng’ang’a L & John-Stewart G (2019), Male partner antenatal clinic attendance is associated with increased uptake of maternal health services and infant BCG immunization: A national survey in Kenya, BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 19
Header photo: naddel. Creative Commons.